The Relics of Joan of Arc

Jun 08, 2014 on AMERICAN HEROES CHANNEL at 10:00 PM


Forensic pathologist Dr Philippe Charlier, known to the French as the "Indiana Jones of the graveyards" faced his biggest challenge yet: to uncover the truth behind the remains of France's most famous daughter - Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc, maid of visi... (more)ons and miracles, had achieved the seemingly impossible when she broke the military back of the English at the Siege of Orleans in 1429 to successfully see the Dauphin finally crowned Charles VII of France at Reims. But her subsequent capture by the English and trial at Rouen for witchcraft and heresy ended in her being sentenced to death by burning at the stake. In modern day France, Dr Philippe Charlier subjected these fragments to the full panoply of 21st century forensic analysis: mass, infrared and atomic-emission spectrometry; electron microscopy; pollen analysis and DNA analysis. One of the bones was not human but feline. Could it have been a cat burnt along with Joan? Black cats were often burned in the fire of those reputed to be witches. But, its origin was not even European. Charlier found nothing in the organic material that matched anything that would have existed in 15th Century Burgundy. In a final, stunning confirmation: carbon dating placed the fragments of bones between the 7th and 8th Century BC. This was no Joan of Arc, this was an Egyptian Mummy! Black tar-like coating on the fragments had nothing to do with burning, but rather embalming. Somehow an Egyptian mummy had ended up being in an apothecary's jar labelled as the remains of Joan of Arc. Yet may hold the belief that the remains of Joan of Arc are still to be found, and returned to a place of honour.

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